by Mark Chillingworth

British Army CIO becomes CDO and CIO of Exeter University

Oct 29, 2015
CareersGovernmentIT Leadership

Alan Hill is leaving the military to become Chief Digital and Information Officer of the University of Exeter. Hill, Head of Information Superiority and CIO of the British Army for three years until September 2014, became Head of Operate and Defend at the Ministry of Defence in October 2014.

Hill told CIO UK he will take up his new position in early 2016 describing his decision as: “a change in sector but still a focus on digital and information. I am really looking forward to this next challenge.”

Hill transformed the culture towards information as CIO and Head of Information Superiority at the British Army and took CIO UK on manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain to demonstrate how information is combined with business process thinking to improve the outcomes and most importantly, protect soldiers.

“Putting information at the heart of the Army,” he said in a 2013 CIO cover story interview, “and there is an appreciation for that since Afghanistan. The counter-insurgency in Afghanistan demanded a different approach to technology and we had an operational driver in Afghanistan.”

This approach as well as the business analysis and process skills in the challenging environment of the Army and the conditions it has work under impressed the CIO 100 judging panel who placed Hill in 2013 top 10 of transformational CIOs in the UK.

The University of Exeter is a top 10 rated institution by major university guides and consistently remains in the top 10 of the National Student Survey. Created in 1955 when it received its Royal Charter the academic institute can trace its history to two organisations formed in 1900 and 1922. Today the University of Exeter has three campuses, two in the Devon city and one in Cornwall and is a member of the Russell Group of UK universities that lead in research. There are colleges for humanities, social and environmental sciences; medicine, engineering, mathematics and physical sciences and a business school with a Centre for Leadership Studies that should tap into the skills of its new CIO. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and the author that reignited kids reading JK Rowling are former students.

In joining the University of Exeter Hill is mirroring former London 2012 CIO Gerry Pennell who is now Director of IT at the University of Manchester following his success at the Olympics.